Electronic Solicitation of a Minor: What You Need to Know

Electronic solicitation (also known as online solicitation) of a minor involves a person over the age of 18 asking for, or participating in, a conversation with a minor with the intent of engaging in sexual conduct. This can happen through computer messages or other online mediums, such as text messages (sexting) or video chats.

As you can imagine, sex crimes like online solicitation of a minor are very sensitive legal issues and can carry serious consequences, such as significant jail time and having to register as a sex offender. Simply being accused of electronic solicitation of a minor can be devastating to your personal life.

Here are a few things you need to know about online solicitation of a minor.

Online Solicitation of a Minor Definition in Rhode Island

Rhode Island Code Chapter 11-37 defines electronic solicitation of a minor (known as § 11-37-8.8 indecent solicitation of a child) as:

(a) A person is guilty of indecent solicitation of a child if he or she knowingly solicits another person under eighteen (18) years of age or one whom he or she believes is a person under eighteen (18) years of age for the purpose of engaging in an act of prostitution or in any act in violation of chapter 9, 34, or 37 of this title.

(b) As used in this section, the word "solicit" or "solicitation" means to command, authorize, urge, incite, request, or advise another to perform an act by any means including, but not limited to, in person, over the phone, in writing, by computer, through the Internet, or by advertisement of any kind.

Defenses for Online Solicitation of a Minor in RI

A skilled defense attorney can increase the chances of a favorable result. Fighting against these charges is about preparation and looking at the facts and circumstances of the case as closely as possible.

A few questions to ask are:

  • Did you have reason to believe the person you were communicating with was over 18?
  • Was entrapment involved?
  • Is the prosecution attempting to portray you as a danger to children when you are not?

Entrapment may involve someone older than 18 posing as a minor. A minor can also lie about their age. These are just a few of the questions an experienced sex crimes attorney will look at.

Rhode Island Penalties for Online Solicitation of a Minor

Penalties for online solicitation of a minor vary across states, but they are very strict in Rhode Island. If you are convicted of online solicitation of a minor, the consequences include:

  • Up to 5 years in prison
  • Requirement to register as a sex offender, which will limit where you can live and your employment opportunities
  • Permanent criminal record, which will show up in background checks
  • Losing the right to possess a firearm
  • Inability to qualify for certain student loans

Get Help from a Rhode Island Sex Crime Attorney

If you have been accused of electronic solicitation of a minor, the most important decision you can make is to hire a Rhode Island sex crime attorney. At The Law Office of Thomas C. Thomasian, Esq, we have spent years defending against charges of electronic solicitation of a minor and other sex crimes like solicitation, sexual assault, and possession of child pornography. We offer strong representation because we know how harsh the penalties can be. Enlist our legal guidance and we will fight to help get you a fair trial and defend your rights.

Contact our office today at (401) 312-4385.